Meet Wolfjay. The Melbourne, Australia-based non-binary newcomer (born Jack Alexander) has earned early buzz in their native country tastemaker Triple J, who described them as “the soundtrack to falling in love in a dream." The digital hype cycle helped further spread their music locally, while also attracting a co-sign from New York-based musician pronoun., who has signed them to her DIY label Sleep Well Records, distributed The Orchard.
"Jack's music instantly grabbed me," says pronoun.'s Alyse Vellturo. "'Together' sounds like a song I've been missing my whole life."
Below, Wolfjay shares the first play of their soaring queer anthem "Together" exclusively Billboard.
“I wrote ‘Together' the day Australia voted to legalize same-sex marriage in that nationwide plebiscite, laying on the floor in a recording studio with someone I found fascinating and incredible and lovely,” they tell Billboard. “We drank prosecco until there wasn’t any left and took turns being honest with each other.”
The euphoric alt-bop is an ode to the freedom that comes with self-acceptance and of “being absorbed by the warmth and weight of being close to someone," they add. "Sharing the same space for a moment and letting it consume you, finally letting go of every stressful thing that’s trying to steal that moment away -- forgetting the future together.”
With a forthcoming EP set for release later this year Vellturo's Sleep Well Records, Wolfjay is all-but-ready for their international debut. To fete the arrival of “Together,” Wolfjay curated a special edition of Billboard's Summer of Pride series -- titled "Shared Experiences" -- which highlights some of their choice queer anthems and cuts by Rostam, SOPHIE, Julien Baker and more. "I've had a moment with each of these songs where I sat bolt upright and was just like 'yes! That! That's what I've been feeling for so long!'" they add. "Over time all those abstract reactions slowly stitched themselves together to the point where I feel confident expressing my identity now."
Below, Wolfjay opens up about Pride, coming out as non-binary, linking up with pronoun. and more.
Who were some of your biggest inflences musically growing up?
I had the biggest fascination with Bowie when I was a kid, the way that he just seemed to float, that nothing weighed him down. He barely seemed attached to the earth - as if at any moment he could just drift into space. I think an artist's ability to reinvent themselves is the most appealing element to me. Artists like Kanye [West], Vampire Weekend, St. Vincent, and Charli XCX have stuck with me since I first heard them as a teenager because of the narrative that just keeps growing as they twist and turn and contort themselves into new shapes and sounds.
How did you first connect with pronoun.'s Alyse Vellturo?
I remember discovering pronoun on a Spotify playlist a few years ago and just being so hooked. I deeply love indie guitar music but am super tired of hearing straight white dudes write songs about straight white dude things, so listening to pronoun was just a breath of fresh air. I started following her on Instagram straight away and she posted something one day on her story breaking down how someone had reached out to her to do a remix of one of her songs. I was so keen to work with her but didn't think I had much of a chance, so literally just copied the message she had screenshot and put in her story word for word and emailed her. In hindsight, it was probably could of come across as sarcastic [laughs]. I got a reply not long after and I sent her some of the stuff I'd been working on, and she got back to me saying that she had been playing 'Together' for all of her friends and that she really loved it.
Then what happened?!
We ended up chatting a bunch on FaceTime about the nuances of identity and how that worked in with my music, and Alyse was just instantly on board. She chatted about how she had gone through a lot of the same stuff herself, and after a pretty turbulent process of trying to work things out, I felt comfortable with everything for the first time.